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Cold 'blob' in part of North Atlantic Ocean puzzles scientists

Friday, October 2nd 2015 - 06:19 UTC
Full article 32 comments

Over the past few months, scientists have been trying to explain an area of very cold temperatures in a part of the North Atlantic Ocean. In fact, when the rest of the world was recording above average highs in temperature, making the year the hottest to-date, this part of the Atlantic was cold. The area is being called the Atlantic “blob.” Read full article


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  • Clyde15

    I notice that this cold spot is directly off the West coast of Scotland !!
    It's an English plot to freeze us into submission. We demand that VAT be set at zero rate for electricity, gas and oil used for heating.

    One good point is that it is good for fish stocks as they prefer cold water and it may also stop the downturn in our seabird populations.

    Oct 02nd, 2015 - 09:23 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • EscoSes Doido

    I'd say the salinity of the water should be measured.
    I'll wager its fresh. I think that's the result of the ice cap melting starting to manifest itself.

    Oct 02nd, 2015 - 10:08 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Brasileiro

    Another Ice Age is starting. The northern hemisphere need a lot of energy to survive the next 100,000 years. The problem will be the food that I think that you will have no money to pay for it.

    Oct 02nd, 2015 - 11:17 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Conqueror

    It's all part of the secret plot between scotland and most of south america. Remember the Kirchner cow sending envoys to scotland. Publicly, argieland rejected the approach. Privately, Salmond and Sturgeon, the fish cakes, were and are well up for it. Notice how Salmond immediately followed the argie example of lying? “Scotland's Future”, the book, was a bit OTT. Printing and publishing the evidence might have been a mistake. The SNP hasn't yet adopted the Brazilian approach of murdering opponents. But they're doing the next best thing which is to make the scottish legal system, unintelligible to normal people anyway, unenforceable. Fewer police, less resources, fewer courts. Venezuela well placed to advise on how to waste money and divert funds to personal accounts. I don't believe Fishcake 2 has reached the “golfing holiday” at public expense yet.Also how to attempt to steal another country's resources. Reading news reports over time, we can see how the “scottish” oil industry of three-quarters of 2014 suddenly became the “uk” oil industry when the oil price dropped. Bolivia doesn't have much input. Only how to push more people from their current recreational vices to drugs. As for the cold “blob”, it's Kirchner's idea of camouflage. Hasn't got the temperature quite right yet!

    Oct 02nd, 2015 - 12:04 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Clyde15

    Survive the next 100,000 years ? I don't think that will bother anyone here!
    For your information, Antarctica has much more ice than the North Pole and is in the Southern hemisphere and Brazil and Arg. are located there.
    Whatever happens when ice melts will also affect YOU. Your lot cannot stand the cold-we revel in it so it's curtains for you softy Latams.

    Oct 02nd, 2015 - 12:55 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Brasileiro

    The Ice Age only occurs in the northern hemisphere of the planet.

    Oct 02nd, 2015 - 01:26 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • inthegutter


    Umm... no, the entire planet cools. However, glaciation does affect the Northern Hemisphere because there is much more land mass at >40N than there is at >40S.


    Reduced circulation (which this could be indicative of) can be very bad for fish stocks though, it essentially reduces the distribution of nutrients.

    Oct 02nd, 2015 - 02:05 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Pugol-H

    @ 1 Clyde15
    Whilst colder water holds more Oxygen, circulation stirs up nutrients from the ocean floor which feeds the plankton blooms and so on up to the fish.

    @ 3 Brasileiro
    Hottest year yet, following a string of hottest years, “a record-hot planet Earth”.

    And you predict an ice age.

    What this means is that when Brazil is just more Sahara, west of the Atlantic, this will still be a “green and pleasant land”.

    Had any droughts in Brazil lately.

    What do your rainfall stats look like for the last 20 years, the Amazon will soon be dying faster than you can cut it down.

    Burn baby burn.

    Oct 02nd, 2015 - 03:52 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Clyde15

    Nobody knows what is going to happen to the weather. All that can be said for certain is that the level of CO2 in the atmosphere is rising. By extrapolation there will come a tipping point where the melting of the ice caps is inevitable and irreversible causing drastic and catastrophic results for mankind.

    Oct 02nd, 2015 - 04:29 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Pugol-H

    @9 Clyde15
    We have probably already passed that point by now.

    Oct 02nd, 2015 - 05:25 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ChrisR

    It seems there are those who think that the melting North pole ice results in rising sea levels: NO it does not, the ice is floating and apart from microscopic differences in bulk volume between frozen and liquid water it makes no difference at all.

    If the South pole ice melts and falls into the sea then that DOES alter the seas level.

    Fortunately the wild claims of the global warming prats of 250 feet (as some have been known to claim) won't happen.

    As for the tipping point and the hockey stick I think that has been conclusively proven to be a fantasy. But why let facts get in the way of a good lie. 3,000 scientists “consensus” is NOT evidence when millions of scientists do not agree.

    Oct 02nd, 2015 - 06:57 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • inthegutter


    You are right that the melting of the arctic sea ice wouldn't have a huge effect on the sea level (a few tens of cm). However, if the Greenland ice sheet (which could also be equated with “North Pole ice”) melted that could raise sea levels by ~5m (which is catastrophic for a good fraction of the worlds population). Melting ice isn't the only effect though, you also have thermal expansion caused by increasing temperatures.

    “As for the tipping point and the hockey stick I think that has been conclusively proven to be a fantasy. But why let facts get in the way of a good lie. 3,000 scientists “consensus” is NOT evidence when millions of scientists do not agree.”

    It has NOT “been conclusively proven” to be fantasy - quite the opposite in fact - it has shown using every diagnostic that there has been a rapid increase in global temperatures over the last 100 years, while the preceding thousand years saw a steady decline (making the “hockey stick”). Moreover, the vast majority of climate scientists (and other scientists like myself) not only accept this, but also accept that it is anthropogenic due to industrialisation.

    While there is long term climate variability caused by variations in the Sun and geological processes on the Earth these are insufficient to explain the temperature changes over the last hundred years.

    What “millions of scientists” are you referring to? For starters there is nowhere close to “millions” of climate scientists in the world. In fact there is probably only a order of 1 million scientists in the world including all fields.

    You don't have to believe me of course, but my main job is as a professional scientist (albeit not a climatologist), trained at the two best universities in the UK.

    Oct 02nd, 2015 - 07:57 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Brasileiro

    The Gulf Stream is colder. It is this ocean current that prevents that the great land masses of the northern hemisphere do not freeze. The Gulf Stream is also not going so far north as normally would. So the winters are colder at North and more soft to the South.
    Droughts and floods are consequences, not causes.

    The Ice Age is coming faster than any of us we thought.

    Oct 02nd, 2015 - 08:08 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • inthegutter


    P.S. If you want to get the views of actual climate scientists as polled by actual scientific studies (and then nicely summarised on a bar chart and put on Wikipedia) you could have a look at:

    This implies that ~80-100% of climate scientists believe in AGW. So...

    Oct 02nd, 2015 - 08:17 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Clyde15

    Unlike you, I actually live in a sea affected by the Gulf Stream. I am a keen gardener and in the 45 years I have lived here I have noted plant growth starting at 3/4 weeks earlier. I can now overwinter tender plants in the ground instead of lifting them and storing in my glasshouse whereas some of my Alpine plants are dying because of the increase in temperature.
    Our winter migrant geese are coming later as temperatures farther North are warmer. Tonight some Greenland White front geese arrived locally. I would have expected them 2 weeks ago. Even this week has been the warmest I can remember for this time of year....more like what I expect for late June.
    Something is definitely happening and it sure doesn't feel like the start of an ice age.

    Oct 02nd, 2015 - 09:50 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Brasileiro

    Here the spring has come early. His birds are lost.

    Oct 02nd, 2015 - 10:13 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Troy Tempest

    There's a blob near the South Atlantic too.

    It puzzles many, but they have named it “Maximo”

    Oct 02nd, 2015 - 11:36 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Brasileiro

    It has been much higher this ball.

    They forgot to tell you.

    Oct 03rd, 2015 - 12:14 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Clyde15

    What has been much higher this“ball” ?

    Who forgot to tell me ?

    That sounds like a pronouncement from Nostradamus ---translation into English required.

    Oct 03rd, 2015 - 10:50 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DennisA

    12 Inthegutter: ”it has shown using every diagnostic that there has been a rapid increase in global temperatures over the last 100 years, while the preceding thousand years saw a steady decline (making the “hockey stick”).“

    Surely you jest? This is so inaccurate as to be delusional. ”every diagnostic”? Just what pray, does that mean? There simply has not been a rapid increase in global temperatures over the last 100 years, 0.8 C since 1850? From a cold period just ending? Oh, I forgot, Mikey disposed of the Little Ice Age and re-wrote history.

    Temperatures were warmer in the MWP, and then we had a rapid cooling during the LIA. 6000 years ago there was less ice in the Arctic than now, tree lines were further north. Archaeology, anthropology, geology, historical writings, all provide ample evidence of past climate, yet Michael Mann comes along with his spliced data, his Nature trick so well described by Phil Jones and produces a temperature hockey stick.

    You claim to be a scientist? If it weren't so serious it would be funny.

    And then you have the gall at 14, to quote Wikipedia and talk of scientific polls, sheesh, you really are something else.

    Oct 03rd, 2015 - 02:52 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Troy Tempest

    Don't overlook Nostril's YouTube evidence @13

    Oct 03rd, 2015 - 03:22 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Brasileiro

    And do you understand what the youtuber say?


    Oct 03rd, 2015 - 03:34 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • inthegutter


    If you'd even bothered to read the post beyond the word wikipedia or find the figure I linked to see you'd see that is an aggregation of [published peer reviewed] studies that surveys climate scientists about their opinions. More generally though, while Wikipedia clearly has no value as a primary source it is invaluable as an information aggregator, particularly in the sciences where most articles are supported by detailed references.

    As for the controversy itself I could point you to numerous peer reviewed publications which confirm the general Mann finding - actually there is a good list on Wikipedia. However, I would point you to the IPCC fifth assessment report as an excellent research aggregator.

    Some key points from this document:

    - ”Warming of the atmosphere and ocean system is unequivocal. Many of the associated impacts such as sea level change (among other metrics) have occurred since 1950 at rates unprecedented in the historical record.“
    - ”It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of observed warming since 1950“
    - ”It is likely (with medium confidence) that 1983—2013 was the warmest 30-year period for 1400 years.“
    - ”Concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has increased to levels unprecedented on earth in 800,000 years.“
    - ”The global surface temperature increase by the end of the 21st century is likely to exceed 1.5 °C relative to the 1850 to 1900 period for most scenarios, and is likely to exceed 2.0 °C for many scenarios“
    - ”The global water cycle will change, with increases in disparity between wet and dry regions, as well as wet and dry seasons, with some regional exceptions.“

    Of course you may disagree with document as some kind of ”liberal conspiracy” (like Wikipedia) however it is supported (like Wikipedia) by a huge amount of peer reviewed literature.

    Oct 03rd, 2015 - 04:13 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ChrisR

    The Metrological Service of the UK has just had to admit that their prediction of a “burning” summer just a few months previously was completely WRONG given that the UK has just undergone some horrendous rain periods.

    They further said that they were revisiting their FIFTY YEAR PREDICTIONS (what a laugh they are having) in the light of the disaster (in them getting it so wrong).

    “What “millions of scientists” are you referring to? For starters there is nowhere close to “millions” of climate scientists in the world”

    So someone has to be a climate scientist to understand the mumbo jumbo then? You claim to be ”my main job is as a professional scientist (albeit not a climatologist), trained at the two best universities in the UK.“

    Really, then show some evidence of critical reasoning or weren't you told / taught about that? CO2 has been latched onto as the ”cause” of weather change in the absence of anything any better.

    It's a bit like the NOX problem with diesel engines. California claims NOX is driving the smog in Los Angeles and elsewhere and have halved the allowance compared to Europe and the west in general. Nobody who tells the truth about there cars can comply, you either meet the level and completely destroy the efficiency (using more fuel) and reduce the performance on the road to unacceptable levels OR you ignore the levels and give the public what they want. There is no evidence to support the NOX claim other than they “feel” it's the right thing to do.

    So answer why it is that cars emitting the same NOX as the EU, etc. running in California have not been detected as causing the smog, oh, sorry, there is no smog other than in naturally bowled areas? Do you get it now? I am a scientist and always look for concrete evidence that proves the point and there is none if you approach the thing with an open mind.

    Of course ALL the “climate scientists” are going to agree with each other: they would be out of a job if they didn't!

    Oct 03rd, 2015 - 05:13 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • inthegutter


    Spare me the personal insults Chris. What is your evidence that I'm not applying “critical thinking”? As far as I can tell it's either that I agree with the scientific consensus (!) or that I disagree with you.

    As for the MetOffice predictions there is a strong distinction between localised weather events and long term global climate change. The UK having a cool summer is not evidence against climate change, it simply doesn't work like that.

    As for your attempt at deflection with the NOX issue (a tactic employed frequently by the Malvinas nuts); I personally don't have enough of an understanding of the chemistry at atmospheric processes involved to have a definitive opinion on the dangers. However, you simply can't compare LA to Europe: LA has a huge population in relatively small area (though admittedly nowhere near London in terms of density), has a limited public transport system (with much higher car usage), and has a much hotter and dryer climate.

    Of course the real issue with VW scandal is that a corporation basically lied to everyone breaking numerous laws along the way - personally I hope that get sued to hell by everyone.

    “Of course ALL the “climate scientists” are going to agree with each other: they would be out of a job if they didn't!” apart from sounding like paranoid conspiracy theorist quite the opposite it true. Where there is strong consensus, funding evaporates (problems are seen as solved). We currently have this in astrophysics with Dark Matter; researchers pursuing alternative theories are unable to secure funding.

    Oct 03rd, 2015 - 06:23 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Pugol-H

    Guys, the basic science of this isn’t complicated, the chemistry is straight forward, when they developed a reliable method for measuring atmospheric CO2 in the early 70s they found 317 ppm and slowly rising. Now we have over 400 and the graph is almost vertical.

    The physics of this is equally straight forward, add 100ppm of CO2 to the atmosphere and you dramatically increase the atmospheres ability to retain heat, hence the term “greenhouse gas”.

    To give you an idea of by how much, if there were little or no CO2 in the atmosphere the average temperature on Earth would be around -20 degrees C.

    The simple fact is that for every 100ppm increase of CO2 in the atmosphere YOU WILL see a several degree increase of temperatures in the biosphere.

    You may argue the models are wrong or that the CO2 isn’t man made, although difficult to see where else it came from in the absence of any flood basalts lately, but this is largely irrelevant, if the level keeps going up so will the temperature FACT.

    As for NOX, diesel cars are not popular in the US and are not common hence VW fixing the data, also modern diesels emit less than 1/60 th of the NOX older models do. Difficult to see how they could be a significant contributor to the levels in California.

    NOX is produced by burning any fossil fuel and by some industrial processes, the usual culprits are coal fired power stations, stainless steel plants and cement works.

    @ 25 inthegutter
    As a complete non expert, but it occurs to me that dark matter may just be someone’s excuse because their sums don’t add up.

    Just a thought, remembering Phlogiston.

    Oct 04th, 2015 - 03:29 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • inthegutter


    With Dark Matter there are now multiple independent pieces of evidence which suggest its existence, and there is a natural theoretical explanation in one of the most popular extensions to the standard model of particle physics. However, as yet there is no direct detection of the particle, and thus no smoking gun. What is clear though is that something is missing or some misunderstanding of gravity on large scale, and it's not just an accounting error.

    Dark energy (what appears to be a completely separate phenomenon) on the other hand is a much more open problem (although evidence has already resulted in one Nobel prize).

    Oct 04th, 2015 - 05:31 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ChrisR

    I could give more credence to 'climate change' [it was 'global warming' originally but that didn't work out either] or as Obama claims 'Climate disruption' if it were not for the antics of the so called scientists themselves.

    The University of East Anglia blew all credibility when its' lies were discovered.

    Perhaps you don't agree with this either:

    I just love the comments section and this little gem:
    “I'm an expert on climate change so listen up, just because the earth hasn't warmed for almost 20 years doesn't mean it isn't getting warmer. And anyone who thinks the sun has anything to do with warming the earth is a complete moron.”

    I am 69, I know I won't be around when the real answer is known and I think that also applies to everybody alive now.

    Oct 04th, 2015 - 07:04 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • inthegutter


    So you're effectively ignoring the scientific consensus because a few scientists at one institutions massaged data to make it appear more significant? This, despite the fact that countless re-analyses demonstrated the general trend is true.

    Your argument appears to boil down to the claim that because someone said something wrong everything they said MUST be wrong.

    Perhaps unfortunately for myself I am young enough that I likely will be affected by AGW, probably through the social disruption and mass migration caused by food crop failures.

    Oct 04th, 2015 - 08:36 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ChrisR

    @ 29 inthegutter
    “social disruption and mass migration caused by food crop failures.”

    I am unsure about food crop failures being due to 'climate change' or whatever label you want to put on it, but I do think the burgeoning population of the world WILL create major unrest due to the lack of food production to meet their needs.

    Many agricultural experts point out that Norway in early times had a far warmer climate which allowed greater choice on the crops grown. They also point out that a slightly warmer world will probably be a good thing.

    Regarding the liars at EAU, you may be too young to remember that the Chairman of the first outfit to push 'global warming' as it was then, a scientist we were informed, turned out to be a women's hairdresser. It went downhill rapidly after that.

    As for Al Gore, he has done well for himself, hasn't he? I think we all know what the “unpleasant truth” is: he's a self fulfilling charlatan aided by gullible people who have passed themselves off as scientists.

    So you agree with the link I posted?

    Oct 05th, 2015 - 11:23 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • inthegutter


    I agree with the raw data, that over the last twenty years average temperature have been static. However, given the short term variability in the climate such an observation is not at all surprising. Where that article is particularly misleading is in the fact it ignored the previous temperature record, and essentially cherry picked its data to fit the hypothesis (an example of bad science if I've ever seen it). .

    Have a look at (particularly the figure labelled “Global Annual Temperature Anomalies”) instead. This essentially shows the same result but extends the record back to 1950; what is clear from this figure is that every one of the last 20 years was above the long term average and that the late 20th century saw significant warming.

    Of course a slightly warmer climate is going to help some areas, particularly areas which are currently pretty cold. At the same time it's going to make things worse in areas where it is already hot. Even if this had a net neutral effect on food production the social disruption could be catastrophic. I do acknowledge though that will be exasperated (perhaps even mostly driven by) population growth (population growth is actually driven by inequality and poverty).

    My main argument though to those unwilling to accept the scientific consensus is: why risk it? Moreover, fossils fuels are not just terrible in terms of AGW/Climate change, they are finite, produce a whole load of pollutants, and leave much of the world overly dependent on oil rich states, almost all of which have terrible human rights records [Russia, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Libya, etc.]. For these reasons alone (let alone AGW) we should plough more resources into the development of indigenous renewables and/or fusion (if you feel like a gamble).

    The only argument I can see against is selfishness; because the negatives are only going to be felt by the proceeding generation the current generation don't give a damn.

    Oct 05th, 2015 - 12:40 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • ChrisR

    @ 31 inthegutter

    If the west continues to do what it is doing with regard to minimising CO2, etc. will it make any real difference given that the Chinese and the Indians et al are doing their level best to stay in the 19th century when it comes to emissions?

    As I have said, I will be gone before this is bottomed out. It's not that I don't care, it's just that I cannot see a way around the dichotomy between the west and the rest!

    Oct 05th, 2015 - 05:33 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • inthegutter


    Come on Chris - the only dichotomy between East and West is that the west is, per capita, producing more CO2 than China and a lot more than India. US citizens produce ~3 times as much CO2 than those in China and ~7 times as much as in India (the EU and China are roughly on parity).

    But you are right, it is a difficult situation and it's entirely likely we could fuck up the planet. If, like most models suggest, AGW does cause increased climate variability I can see mass migrations and civil conflict. Western nations could be become overwhelmed leading to a resurgence of nationalist ideologies (to some extent already occurring on the continent).

    Oct 05th, 2015 - 06:15 pm - Link - Report abuse 0

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